Sermon Illustrations
Posted by Douglas on Oct 13, 2013

Meal times were much more simple before our son started eating "grown-up" foods. When we sat down to eat, Laura and I had our plates, and our son had his bowl. We ate from our food, and he ate from his, and I don't think it ever occurred to him to wonder what we were eating.

But that changed when we started feeding him food off our plates. Once we started that, from then on, he would always be curious about what was on our plates.

And that's fine, but sometimes it's a bit inconvenient. There are some foods that we don't feed our son yet (for example, his pediatrician has recommended that we not feed him peanut butter just yet, and if I'm eating eggs with yolks that are a bit runny, I won't feed them to him).

This morning our son had a bowl of cereal, but I had a breakfast sandwich made with bread, cheese and eggs (slightly runny). On a normal morning, he will go at his cereal with great gusto, and never stop until it's finished. But this morning, since I was eating a breakfast sandwich, he was extremely curious about that, and would not eat his own food, because he was determined to have some of mine.

The interesting thing was that as soon as my sandwich was gone, he went immediately to his cereal and gobbled it all down without hesitation.

He knows that his cereal is quite yummy, and under normal circumstances he doesn't hesitate to dive into it. But today his desire for something else kept him (temporarily) from enjoying his own food.

That made me think of a couple verses in scripture about the blessings God gives to us, and the way we respond to those blessings. Just as I don't give my son things that I don't think are good for him, God doesn't give us things that aren't good for us. James 1:17 says that all good and perfect gifts come down from the Father. And under normal circumstances, I would rejoice in those good and perfect gifts.

But sometimes something else comes along that God doesn't intend for me to have -- something that would be unhealthy for me. And what happens? Silly me, I stop focusing on the good things God has given me, and I start focusing on the things He hasn't given me. The result? I cease to enjoy the good things that God intended for me to have.

This is one of the great secrets of contentment -- to understand and have faith that what God has given me is far better than what He hasn't given me.

In Philippians 4:11, Paul says that he has learned to be content whatever his circumstances. What about you? Are you content? Or are you always distracted from what you do have by the things you don't have?

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